This is an update from the article archives for Catholic Men Chicago Southland.
By Frank J Casella
My youngest son has always had a love for basketball. When he was 10 years old he called me over to show me how he could make ten free throws in a row. Not impressed, I said “nice job … now raise the net up to where it belongs”. Impatient to grow taller, he lowered his goal.
Men, is this what you do? We lower our standards and then become proud of our accomplishments. What would God be saying to you?
All of this goes back to Adam and Eve in the garden. Eve sinned because Adam was not protecting her heart. Adam lowered God’s standards by being silent when the serpent was having conversation with Eve (Genesis 3:6).
Up until that point Adam was talking and leading his life based on his relationship with God (Genesis 3:6). He was a Man who lead in such a way that Eve could not resist him.
Men, are you the priest of your house in such a way that your wife (or future wife) cannot resist you? God created Adam before Eve because Adam was to be responsible to both rule and lead.
Even though it was Eve whom the serpent tempted to eat the fruit that had been forbidden in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6), it was Adam whom God went looking for. It was Adam who was responsible (Genesis 3:9).
The way to be a servant leader is to align yourself with God and know His will for your life. When you have this goal, everyone in your life then benefits. Our culture, on the other hand, would rather you be silent .. and serve your own selfish needs.
The reason so many men today are living without is because we misunderstand our goal and settle for trinkets, sports jerseys, TV remotes, golf clubs, nice cars, video games, careers, and vacations. Those things are okay – unless they cause you to be misaligned with God and His will and take you off course of pursuing God’s own heart.
Look at it another way, many sports games have an official who prevents chaos by following the rules from the playbook – not his own ‘book’. Men, is your playbook the Bible, or your own – chaos – human understanding?
Many men today are feeling smothered and gasping within because we do not know how to be a man. One thing that happens to a man when he can no longer breathe is that he will try to live vicariously through others. It is this man who, for example, will wear another man’s jersey with another man’s name and number on the back of it. Regularly.
Any man who has to all the time wear another man’s name on the back of his shirt may need to ask himself how he views his own manhood, and identity in Jesus Christ. Instead, we need to strive to wear our own jersey, and create our own identity in Jesus Christ.
Men, God has a standard. He has a goal in mind for your life: To be a servant leader after God’s own heart is that goal.
Yet what so many us men have done is lowered our standard. The results of this lowered standard affect so many more than just you and me. This lowered standard affects us all.
It shows up in our country. In our culture. In the economics of our world. You don’t have to look any farther than our homes, churches, communities, and globe to discover that men – not all, but many – have missed the goal to live as a servant leader after God’s own heart. The impact of a lower standard leaves its scars no matter what race, income bracket, or community a person is in.
The outcomes are different depending the the location, but they are devastating none the less. Some of which are Inadequacy, promiscuity, emptiness, depression, chronic irresponsibility, family breakup, misuse of finances, divorce, violence, chemical addition, overeating, indulgence, bankruptcy, low self-esteem, and general aimlessness plague our society as a direct result of the abuse or neglect of being the man that God calls us to be.
The call for men to come forth and stand for servant leadership, and being a man that God calls him to be, has never rung louder. Our world is on a path of self-destructive behavior. That must change. Yet that change will not occur unless us men – YOU – will raise the standard to where God had originally placed it.
My son is now 19 and still shooting free-throws. He is a coach for a basketball school. But it’s about more than being a coach. It’s about developing relationships with kids half his age, and showing them how to raise the standard too.
Because, since he was a kid himself, he’s raised the basket (standard) to where it belongs and has made hundreds of shots with the net at the right height – but he had to work at it.
One drill that we played along the way is to shoot ten in a row. If you miss one shot, you start over. My son rarely has to start over. He now shoots over 200 free throws in a row. He tells me once you have the basic (free throw) down, other shots fall into place.
He has raised his goal and maintained that higher standard. Not in his strength, but through Christ who strengthens him (1 Timothy 1:12). He has applied this standard to his life as well.
You can too. Will you?
Frank J Casella is co-founder of Catholic Chicago Men’s Conference, and Executive Direcor of Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate.